Toys, toothbrushes leach toxic metals onto beaches: SFU

Every piece of plastic that reserachers found in Burrard Inlet was contaminated

Even innocent plastic items such as toothbrushes that are left on B.C. beaches are leaching toxic metals into the water, a SFU study released Wednesday suggests.

Researchers found that plastic particles as small as five millimetres release toxic metals into the environment.

“While extremely high levels of the four metals were found in certain items, all items carried traces of them,” said researcher Leah Bendell.

“This can pose significant toxicological threats and impair the health of coastal ecosystems.”

Environmental engineering master student Bertrand Munier spent four weeks collecting more than 15o pieces of plastic debris from nine beaches along the Burrard Inlet.

The junk included toys, personal hygiene items, bicycle parts and food packaging.

The researchers found varying traces of metals, cadmium, zinc, copper and lead in every piece of debris.

“Even something as innocuous as a child’s toy left on the beach will provide a sorption site for metals, which will then break down into fragments that could then allow the entry of toxic metals into coastal food webs,” Bendell said.

She warned that World Economic Forum estimates show the total mass of plastics in our oceans will outweigh the biomass of fish by 2050.

Just Posted

Pacific Insight to lay off part of workforce

The company says it is transferring automotive production to its Mexico facility

UPDATED: Four Nelson marijuana dispensaries to remain open after legalization

Nelson’s police chief has no plans to close them down

Nelson candidates debate climate change at forum

Mayoral and council candidates had the chance to speak on five fictional resolutions

UPDATE: Nelson man who swam naked with sharks arrested

David Weaver, 37, will face mischief and assault charges

10 things still illegal in the new age of recreational cannabis

Pot is legal – but there are still a lot of rules, and breaking some could leave you in jail

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

After 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird puppeteer retiring

The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Britain, EU decide to take some time in getting Brexit right

Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said “we need much time, much more time and we continue to work in the next weeks.”

Parole denied for convicted killer-rapist Paul Bernardo after 25 years in prison

Paul Bernardo plead for release on Wednesday by arguing he has done what he could to improve himself during his 25 years in prison.

Man holds newborn son for first time after devastating B.C. racetrack crash

Kayden was born the day after Jonathan was crushed by car at speedway

Smooth start to legal cannabis in B.C., Mike Farnworth says

Online and government store makes 4,000 sales by noon

B.C. Lions look to cement CFL playoff spot with victory over Eskimos

B.C. can cement a post-season berth in the wild West Division on Friday night with a home win over the Edmonton Eskimos

Canada ban on asbestos takes effect but mining residues are exempt

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna plans to announce the new regulations implementing the ban on Thursday in Ottawa

Most Read